Image for Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 7-trans,9-cis-octadecadienoic acid, ALLMAX Nutrition® CLA95, c9t11-CLA, c9,t11-CLA, catalpic acid, CFA-S, CLA-60, CLA by-product, CLA-FFA, CLA-free fatty acid (FFA), CLA-triacylglycerol, CLA triglyceride oil, Clarinol™, Clarinol™ A-65, Clarinol™ A-80, Clarinol™ A-95, Clarinol™ G-80, CLN, CLnA, CLNA, conjugated alpha-linolenic acid (CLnA), conjugated diene isomers of linoleic acid, conjugated dienoic derivatives of linoleic acid, conjugated dienoic isomers of linoleic acid, conjugated fatty acids, conjugated linolenic acid, conjugated octadecatrienoic (CLnA) acids, dietary CLA, dietary conjugated linoleic acid, LA, linoleic acid, linolelaidic acid (C18:2 trans-9,trans-12), lipid esterified conjugated linoleic acid, octadecadienoate (18:2), octadecadienoic acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, positional and geometric isomers of a conjugated diene of linoleic acid, pure conjugated linoleic acid, RA, rumenic acid, ruminant meat, Safflorin™, Safflorin™ isomerized safflower oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, synthetic conjugated linoleic acid mixture, t10c12-CLA, t10,c12-CLA, Tonalin®, Tonalin® CLA, VA, vaccenic acid.
  • Combination product examples: ProMass™ (gamma-linolenic acid and CLA).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Scientific interest in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) began in the late 1980s as a result of animal and in vitro studies suggesting anticancer effects. Since this time, interest in CLA has broadened to areas of weight loss and altered body composition.
  • CLA is a fatty acid naturally found in beef and dairy products in the diet. Due to consumer interest, CLA-enriched dairy products are in development and are considered acceptable to consumers despite small differences in sensory profiles (1). Most CLA dietary supplements are made from safflower oil. However, CLA is also found in other vegetable oils, including hydrogenated soybean oil (2). The two dominant isomers that have been studied include c9,t11 CLA and t10,c12 CLA.
  • Results from studies in animal models have suggested that CLA is effective in reducing body fat mass, is anticarcinogenic, increases insulin sensitivity, decreases fasting plasma glucose, and may have positive effects for atherosclerosis (3;4;5;6;7;8;9;10;11;12;13;14;15).
  • In humans, CLA is most commonly used for weight loss or body fat reduction. The mechanisms for this effect are unclear. Conflicting evidence exists to support the use of CLA for weight loss in humans, and in general weight loss is small compared to placebo. At this time research is limited in terms of other proposed indications (allergy, asthma, cardiovascular disease risk, diabetes, hair loss, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, immune function, and rheumatoid arthritis). Furthermore, adverse effects, such as insulin resistance and increased cardiovascular risk factors, are associated with CLA use.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.